Faced with tackling an almost impossible task such as choosing my three favourite stories from all the amazing material we have published here on Literally Stories I decided the best course of action was to cheat.
I produced a long-list.
And here it is chronologically (more or less):
Listening In/Jon Green: Elsa/Tobias Haglund: Seven Days a Bag Week/Hugh Cron: Talk to Me/June Griffin: The Conscious Coward/Vic Smith: Waiting For Francis/Todd Levin: Beffroi/Tobias Haglund: 2.45 am./Todd Levin: Ella’s Ghost/Nik Eveleigh: Beach House/Diane Dickson: The Greatest Cock That Ever Lived/Dave Louden: Data/Scott David: Looking for Nipsey/dm gillis: The Woman Upstairs/Michael Mulvey : Where Cherubs Sleep/dm gillis: Reinventing Amy/Nik Eveleigh: Neon/Sharon Dean: The Woman Upstairs/Michael Mulvey: Interview With Lucifer/Frederick K. Foote: Where Cherubs Sleep/dm gillis: Black Roses/Jeffrey Miller: Apathetica/Nik Eveleigh: Joey Schaff…/Dave Louden: A Roaming Tat/Frederick K. Foote: Silent Treatments/Goran Sedlar: Underneath The Rose/Irene Allison: Swan River Daisy/Tom Sheehan: There is a Forest Here/dm gillis: First in Line/Patty Somlo: Dancing in Amsterdam/Tobias Haglund: The Plane That Flew Forever/GJ Hart.
I procrastinated but on a deeper level knew on whose chests I was going to pin gongs.
And the winners are…
Tobias Haglund for Elsa
‘Every time I stand too long in front of the mirror I feel the need to brush my teeth.’
One element that turns a good story into something special is an observation – albeit a mundane one – that you have never come across before. Some thing original. A weird little eye on the world that lands you inside someone’s head.
Tobias reveals complex and conflicting emotion in Elsa simply. Beautifully.
Scott David for Data
Opening lines don’t get impact much better than: ‘The soapbox prophets turn to bombs and the lines at the food pantries snake twenty blocks, but my algorithm cranks relentlessly.’
End-of-the-world-as-we-know-it stories are ten-a-penny so you better have an angle if you are going to grab your reader. Scott has an angle.
Style by the bushel load.
I know very little about algorithms but there is a wonderful beat to Scott’s writing that makes it a joy to read.
dm gillis for Looking for Nipsey
‘It was still December, but Reggie had a bug up his ass about the high school reunion in June.’
dm blends an earthy turn of phrase with an eye for detail – and a heck of lot more besides – though I suspect that eye is bloodshot and can’t tell blue from red! I don’t mean colour blind more that dm sees a world within a world, a reflection like something from a hall of mirrors and quite unlike anyone else. Whilst his writing reminds me of the humour of the likes of PK Dick and Kurt Vonnegut – the weirdness, too – he has a style all his own.